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Matt Warman examines the new 'Conversation Mode' for Google Translate for Android, and asks what's next for the search giant.

Readers of Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy will recognise the idea of the Babel fish – one device (or fish) that sits in the ear of a listener and instantly translates any language into your mother tongue. Google is not quite there yet, but it is perfectly reasonable to see that as the logical end of the road the company has embarked upon. Eric Schmidt, Google’s chief executive, demonstrated the experimental technology at the IFA electronics fair in Berlin in September (using German rather than Spanish). He estimates that in a year to 18 months, the process will be instantaneous.

Watch: The first AI-scripted commercial is here, and it’s surprisingly good

A new AI-produced commercial from Lexus shows how AI might be particularly suited for the advertising industry.

Technology & Innovation
  • The commercial was written by IBM's Watson. It was acted and directed by humans.
  • Lexus says humans played a minimal part in influencing Watson, in terms of the writing.
  • Advertising, with its clearly defined goals and troves of data, seems like one creative field in which AI would prove particularly useful.
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A new study says alcohol changes how the brain creates memories

A study on flies may hold the key to future addiction treatments.

Scott Barbour/Getty Images
Mind & Brain
  • A new study suggests that drinking alcohol can affect how memories are stored away as good or bad.
  • This may have drastic implications for how addiction is caused and how people recall intoxication.
  • The findings may one day lead to a new form of treatment for those suffering from addiction.
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Who believes fake news? Study identifies 3 groups of people

Then again, maybe the study is fake news too.

Surprising Science
  • Recent research challenged study participants to pick real news headlines from fake ones.
  • The results showed that people prone to delusional thinking, religious fundamentalists, and dogmatists tended to believe all news, regardless of plausibility.
  • What can you do to protect yourself and others from fake news?
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